Take your pick — It’s not too early to check out nearby apple orchards

By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media

August 7, 2014 10:50AM

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Updated: August 18, 2014 1:06PM

As August gets underway, it’s a great time to plan a family outing to gather up and enjoy freshly-picked apples.

While some varieties are now available, you might want to “save the date” for those more abundant come fall. And although it’s easy to think of Michigan when you think of apples, Northern Illinois is ripe with the fruit as well.

Many orchards offer pick-your-own and bags of apples, as well as apple-related treats (apple cider donuts, anyone?) Also, most orchards offer an array of apple varieties with different flavors, uses and ripening dates. For example, the tart Granny Smiths will ripen in late October or early November — just in time for holiday baking. The sweeter gala and Honeycrisps will be ready in early to mid-September, which is perfect for back-to-school lunches and apples for the teachers.

Many orchards — like All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock, Jonamac Orchard in Malta and Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park — have additional fall activities like corn mazes and hayrides that run during apple season as well. Some offer the dual experience of visiting both the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard in the same day.

Before your visit, it’s a good idea to check the website or call ahead to ensure crop supply and ripening dates; plus rules on pets, strollers and wagons, and payment policies.

All Seasons Orchard

14510 Illinois Route 176, Woodstock. (815) 338-5637; Allseasonsorchard.com

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends plus Labor Day and Columbus Day Aug. 31 to October or early November.

Cost: $8-$22.50. Includes a half-peck bag. $1 coupon online.

Garden Patch Farms and Orchard

14154 W. 159th St., Homer Glen. (708) 301-7720; Gardenpatchfarms.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through October.

Cost: $5 to pick; priced per pound.

Heinz Orchard

1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks. (847) 770-3449; Heinzorchard.com

Hours: 10 a.m. -4 p.m. Friday-Sunday to October.

Cost: Cash only.

Homestead Orchard

11802 Charles Road, Woodstock. (815) 338-7443; Homesteadorchard.net

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily the fourth week in August to the last week of October.

Cost: $1.50 per pound. Cash only.

Honey Hill Orchard

11747 Waterman Road, Waterman. (815) 264-3337; Honeyhillorchard.com

Hours: Early season hours are 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Labor Day late August to early September. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily August early September to Oct. 31.

Cost: Cash or check only.

Jonamac Orchard

19412 Shabbona Road, Malta. (815) 825-2158; Jonamacorchard.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily Aug. 30 to mid-October.

Cost: $13 for half- peck bag, $26 for 1 peck and $42 for a half-bushel.

Keller’s Farmstand

2500 Johnson Road, Oswego. (630) 219-8194; kellersfarmstand.com

Hours: When apples are available, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily to Oct. 31.

Cost: Farm activities are $9.

Kuipers Family Farm

1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park. (815) 827-5200; Kuipersfamilyfarm.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Apple-picking season runs weekends only Aug. 23 to early October.

Cost: $9 includes hayride and 1/4 peck bag of apples. Purchase a peck for $15. Orchard and pumpkin patch combo tickets are available.

Lang’s Orchard

17411 Secor Road, Woodstock. (815) 568-7547; Langsorchard.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends starting mid-September.

Cost: $15 per peck.

Meadowmoor Orchard

1517 N Route 47, Woodstock. (847) 848-2847; Meadowmoororchard.com

Hours: Open weekends until Labor Day, and the 10:30 a.m. -5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday to November.

Cost: $2.50 per pound for Honeycrisp, $1.50 per pound for other fruits. Windfall apples half price.

More Than Delicious

9905 Thompson Road, Woodstock. (815) 575-9650; Morethandelicious.com

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the second week of September to October.

Cost: Apples available for purchase be the bushel, half-bushel or peck. A bushel is $60. Windfall apples are half-price.

Prairie Sky Orchard

4914 N. Union Road, Union. (815) 923-4834; prairieskyorchard.com

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily early September through October.

Pine Apple Acres

41W651 Powers Road, Huntley. (847) 669-3251; Pineapple-acres.com

Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday to Sept. 5; Tuesday to Sunday to Sept. 28.

Cost: $5 per car; apples are $2 per pound.

Royal Oak Farm Orchard

15908 Hebron Road, Harvard. (815) 648-4141; Royaloakfarmorchard.com

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 14-31; 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and 9:30 a.m. to sunset Thursday to Saturday, Sept. 2 to Oct. 14.

Cost: $6 for a 3-pound bag (pre-picked), $15 for an 8-pound bag (pre-picked), $20 for a peck, $40 for a half-bushel, $70 for a bushel. Honeycrisps cost extra and are not available for you-pick. Pecks, half-bushels and bushels are available for you-pick and pre-picked.

Woodstock Country Orchard

17015 Garden Valley Road, Woodstock. (815) 923-4359; Woodstockcountryorchard.com

Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends September to mid-October.

Cost: $8 for a half-peck, $15 for a peck, $30 for a half-bushel. Honeycrisp cost extra. Cash only.

Garwood Orchards and Farm Market

5911W50S La Porte, Ind. (219) 362-4385; appleupick.com

Hours: 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends to October.

Cost: $1.25 per pound.

Radke Orchard

8999 W County Road 200 N. Michigan City, Ind. (219) 872-3140; radkeorchards.com

Hours: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Aug. 30 to the end of October.

Cost: 80 cents per pound for you-pick.

County Line Orchard

200 S. County Line Rd., Hobart, Ind., (219) 947-4477; Countylineorchard.com

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily September and October.

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